This week it’s the Missouri River that’s threatening to flood large areas of the Midwest. In Iowa, helicopters are dropping thousand-pound sandbags near a threatened levee in an attempt to protect the town of Hamburg. A small break appeared Sunday in the levee, and about half the town’s population of 1,200 was ordered to evacuate. It’s expected that the sandbags will only delay, not prevent, the failure of the levee, and the Army Corps of Engineers is attempting to build a secondary wall to protect the town.
While officials can try to slow or prevent breaches—or “compromises”—as they occur, the emergency management director for Iowa’s Atchison County was quoted as saying "We anticipate these compromises rearing their ugly heads all up and down the levee system throughout this event."
Parts of Nebraska and South Dakota may also face flooding from the river, which is reaching record levels because of unusually high rainfall and snowmelt from the Rockies.